Micro schools have been equated to a modern one-room schoolhouse. An exact definition is hard to find, but there are some traits that are common to micro schools…
- Small (this varies greatly, but many are less than a couple dozen students)
- Highly individualized
- Student-led and project-based learning
- Multi-age groupings
- Funded by tuition, but often less than typical private schools
As with any educational system, not every learner will be a good fit for a micro school. Students that thrive in this setting will be motivated, curious, and somewhat independent. That does not mean they have all the answers or can do everything before it’s even taught. They are still learning, they are still kids, and they still need guidance from an adult. But if you talk to most micro school teachers, they will share that once students adjust to this environment, it doesn’t take long to become motivated, curious, and independent. They become empowered. All kids want to learn, succeed, and make a difference. A micro school is a learning space that fits most children because it is so individualized.
A micro school does has some distinct advantages. First, each child is known, meaning that the adults and other students develop relationships with each other to understand the strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and passions of those they are learning with. Also, each child’s education is designed just for them. They won’t sit around wasting time on skills that they’ve already mastered, and they also won’t sit around wasting time on skills that they aren’t ready to master. Through collaboration and real-world projects, students are able to put their skills to work as kids, and witness first-hand the benefits of learning. They become intrinsically motivated not only to learn, but to use their learning to help their community. In a micro school environment, students develop strong social skills because they spend a lot of time collaborating with kids of various ages in order to accomplish their goals and find success with their projects. They learn about teamwork, bouncing back after failure, determination, humility, listening, encouraging others, and so much more. They are not waiting until adulthood to make a difference…they make a difference now.